I come from a long line of ancestors with prodigious facial hair. I don’t have any myself with the exception of my out-of-control eyebrows. Seriously, I could have them waxed on Tuesday, pluck them on Wednesday, and need to wax them again on Thursday – but this is not about me or my eyebrows. It’s about a long heritage of facial hair, mostly on men, and our celebration of this heritage as a family.
Let’s start at the beginning of the age of photography.
My Great Great Great Grandfather, Travis Elias Cox was the forefather of many impressive beards and mustaches. His beard is the earliest one photographed in my collection. This photo dates from the 1850s.
This is my Great Great Great Grandfather, Munson Hollister. While he may have lacked an actual first name, but he grew an impressive beard. As a plus, he appears to have had excellent penmanship. It looks like I may have inherited those pesky eyebrows from Munson as well
The Gentleman in the center front is my Great Great Grandfather, Martin Luther Eyler. He had several daughters that he married off to men with mustaches. Oddly enough my Great Grandpa Carter is the lone clean-shaven man in this photo. I assume his beard was just to wonderful to look upon – I’m sure he did not want to upstage these lovely ladies.
My Great Great Grandfather – John Sidney Cox, son of Travis Elias Cox may have suffered from male pattern baldness, but you cannot deny that his beard was epic in this daguerreotype.
A suit, tie, and shotgun – all complement my Great Grandpa Goodson’s substantial Mustache
My mom’s father, my Grandaddy Smith was never seen without his slim and stylish ‘stache.
My Great Uncle Newt (left) and my Grandpa Carter (right) show off their beard-growing prowess in honor of Helldorado Days in the 1950s. I never saw this beard in person, Grandpa was always clean-shaven – I think the sheer power in that beard was too much for the world to handle.
My father – the King of Isabelle Avenue – wore a full beard for almost 20 years. A lot of men get a sports car when they hit 40 – Pops got a teepee and grew a neck beard. The whiskers started about an inch below his eyeballs and stopped somewhere on his toes. His beard was so thick that he once hid a small parrot in it. It was the king of all Carter beards – a beard without rival.
Of course, my brothers are no exception – they are fine examples of hirsuteness.
My brother Max began wearing facial hair at about 7 years of age. Always a slave to fashion, this look required at least 45 minutes of blow drying each morning to perfect in the only bathroom in our childhood home.
Mullet styled and ready for prom, my brother Ron’s mustache clearly came of age during the Miami Vice era.
Mustaches are not only for men in the Carter Clan – a few rarely blessed members of the feminine persuasion have been known to sport a handlebar or fumanchu. Avery Lynn is especially prodigious showing off her perfect handlebar at the tender age of three months. Clearly she takes after her mommy.
As I was saying earlier – my Pop had an amazing beard, a rich beard, one without rival, that is until now…
This is my nephew Tommy. His beard borders on perfection. It is so perfect that recently friends and family from all across the country gathered to spend a day reveling in his beard of wonder. As is our custom when a man’s beard comes to fruition, invitations were sent, arrangements made, and a ceremony planned to commemorate this life event. Tommy prepares for his big day by blowing smoke into the sky and creating storm clouds – such is the power of his beard.
The big day arrives, family comes in from all over the country. Tommy prepares:
Before the ceremony Tommy takes some time to console his younger cousin who has yet to grow a mustache. Hang in there Steven, you’ll be shaving in no time.
Before the ceremony the young bearded men share a smoke and some aged bourbon. This is Tommy’s younger brother Brian – he doesn’t usually drink beer, but when he does it’s Dos Equis.
Brother’s in Beards – so happy to celebrate Tommy’s perfect beard! Brian and Mike – Tommy’s bearded younger and older brothers.
Here Brian and Mike are attacked by Richard – clearly he is jealous of their beards.
A line of mustachioed and bearded men forms outside the ceremony – Max’s fumanchu can hide a frisky side.
Each of the bearded attendants was escorted by a lovely lady in a purple dress and flowers – her job was to walk him up the aisle and then stepped aside so that family and friends could admire the fullness of his facial hair.
Brian’s beard is presented to family and friends
This was the “best man” they could find without facial hair. We all felt sorry for him.
This pastor followed Tommy into the ceremony – he was there to bless the beard. You can tell by the smile on Tommy’s face that he is thrilled to have such a perfect beard.
Karen put on a sparkly dress and filled her head with about a hundred bobby pins for the honor of walking her mustachioed man up the aisle to view the blessing.
Tommy’s fiance Shanda dressed up like an angel and walked up the aisle – see how she gazes up at that perfect beard.
To cap of this day of joy Shanda gets to kiss the beard!
Apparently Shanda nearly ruined the day by getting lipstick on that perfect beard – whew! Crisis averted!
Tommy and Shanda celebrate the achievement of a beard so perfect that it makes Ben Affleck jealous.
Shanda is so overwhelmed by the power of Tommy’s beard that she is forced to look away.
Have no doubt about the power of a perfect beard. Not only can it produce storm clouds – rainbows line up to greet it!
I over heard Shanda telling someone her answer to a question that Tommy asked her. She said, “I didn’t say ‘Yes’ – I said, ‘fuck yes!'” I’m pretty sure the question was “Do you like my beard?”
Shanda just can’t resist that amazing beard – look, she brought it flowers
Now that the ceremony is over Shanda can hardly wait to snuggle up to that beard!
Behold the Beard! The beard is seated at a place of honor.
Lucky Shanda – she gets the first dance with Tommy’s Beard!
This is my brother Ron after the ceremony. Ron’s beard is an interesting shape. It’s long in the front and short on the sides, kinda like a backwards mullet.
The subterfuge is dropped. Ron is Kahl Drogo, dressed up in a western shirt holding a clean-shaven Avery.
Ronnie’s alter ego?
This is not Daenerys Targaryen – this is Mindy. Daenerys and Ron broke up ages ago. Poor Daenerys, she only gets to play with dragons.
A beard this perfect deserves its own cake to mark the celebration!
At the end of the night, young Brian shows the spoils of the evening. It was his promising beard that helped him to nab the prize.
Max relaxes knowing that another generation is ready to carry on his hirsute heritage.
Tommy, Shanda, and Tommy’s Beard stare off into the sunset – a perfect future ahead.
OK – I’m just kidding.
Congrats to Tommy and Shanda on their big day. It was practically perfect in every way and a rainbow did show up right after they got hitched. I like to think it was sent by the King of Isabelle Avenue as a gift to Tommy and his lovely bride Shanda on their wedding day.
Love you both,
Aunt Lorri (The one without a mustache)
Reblogged this on the eff stop and commented:
Have you ever looked at a set of photos and imagined another reality? Well I do that sometimes. This is the story of a beard and the people who love it…
Love it !!
Now that was great! So this is where you’ve been! How perfect is that beard and those rainbows?? Awesome.
Thanks Jackie – it’s been a crazy few weeks for me. That rainbow was amazing, as was the beard. 🙂
Fantastic 😀 lovely wedding pics and what a great collection of old pics! (and family beards of course)
So many beards and so few chins – that’s the Carters for you. Thanks for stopping by!
LOL! Great post and pics! Beautiful couple. Congrats ♥
They are a pretty lovely couple, although I may be biased! Thanks!
As you should be! 🙂
Love this! Awesome beardology. Beautiful couple.
Thanks – I know my family’s beards go back to the old country. Avery shows real promise! They are a wonderful couple and I am thrilled to have a new niece join the family.
Love it. My favorite brother has has a beard for 30 years and my son, at 22 has a beard that could rival some of your ancestors!
My Pop’s beard was almost obnoxious, but when he finally shaved it I really missed his grizzled look. I always get people back home asking if my brother is the one with the two-tone fumanchu – his mustache is a local legend.
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Oh my gosh! That was hilarious! I hope the bird in the beard was true. lol
Love this beard story and can’t wait to delve further into the depths of your talent!